Before applying for a Direct Grant to plant trees

It’s important to think through why, what and how you’re going to plant trees on your land before you apply for a tree planting grant.

Before you apply for a tree planting grant

Remember that forests are a long-term investment, and it may be expensive to change your mind once you've started. Have a good plan for your project and what the costs may be before committing.

What to consider

  • Think about why you're planting – what benefits do you want?
  • Think about whether you can commit to keeping the land in forest either permanently, or until it’s ready to harvest.
  • Consider the cost – preparation, planting, maintenance and harvesting. A Direct Grant isn’t intended to pay for your project in full but will contribute to the cost. For many projects, you’ll need to cover additional costs beyond what the grant covers.
  • Plan your project well and understand what additional costs there may be before committing.

If you’re planning to harvest your trees you will need to consider:

  • how big your forest will be, and what types of trees will work best for your land.
  • terrain and geology: you need to make sure the land is suitably stable for forestry operations.
  • resource management – talk to your local council before you begin making plans
  • if, how and when your forest will be harvested. You need to plan for the expenses you'll incur to harvest your forest, including upgrading roads if necessary, hiring equipment and people, and transport.

Before deciding on a location for your forest think about:

  • whether there is, or can be, good access to the forestry site. It could be costly to build access for future harvesting.
  • whether there is a direct road network providing access to the forest gate, and access to State highways
  • how close the site is to a port, mill, or probable market.

To develop your plan, get some expert help. Your regional council land management team, industry body, the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, registered forestry consultants or other professionals can be approached for advice and information.

Find out more

Getting started in farm forestry

Taking care of your forest

Good practice guidance for planting and native reversion

Your planting project should be in line with regional or national good practice for the type of activity you’re doing. There are a number of organisations who can provide information to help you plan your planting and reversion projects.

Other websites with information for native planting

Trees that Count

Department of Conservation - native reversion

Tane’s Tree Trust

Websites with information for native and exotic planting

New Zealand Farm Forestry Association


Many regional councils have good information to help you plan your planting and reversion project, and often have additional funding options. Get in touch with your regional council land management team to discuss what’s available in your area.

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